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Signs of Stress in a 5 Month Old Baby

author image Rose Welton
Rose Welton is a journalism major and a freelance writer. Her education is focused on nutrition and early childhood studies, making her an expert when it comes to writing about health and children's growth and development. She has written numerous articles and blog posts on various topics for online publications and has also worked on an Internet news team.
Signs of Stress in a 5 Month Old Baby
Close-up of a five month old baby laying on a blanket. Photo Credit: ivolodina/iStock/Getty Images

A 5-month-old baby may show signs of stress because his brain is still developing and is unsure how to handle stressful situations. Tending to him when he is stressed will help him learn how to become calm during times of stress. According to PBS, stress is a healthy response that teaches us how to respond quickly to situations and how to learn to calm down. However, too much stress can cause health problems, so learn how to identify your baby’s stress and calm him with things like soothing, cuddling or rocking.

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The Ohio State University Medical center states that some movements can indicate signs of stress in a baby. If your baby arches her back while crying or flails her arms and legs, she may be stressed to a point where she is unable to calm herself down. Try wrapping her in a blanket and taking her into a dark and quiet room or offer her a pacifier or small bottle to calm her down.


Uncontrollable crying can be a sign of stress in a 5-month-old baby. He may cry due to sensory overload, which occurs when his developing senses are exposed to too many lights, sounds and people. This sensory overload may affect him even more if he is trying to eat. Try to eliminate as much of the commotion around your baby as possible. If you are unable to control his crying, call his doctor to be sure something else isn’t wrong.

Trouble Sleeping

A baby under stress may wake up frequently throughout the night or experience night terrors where she wakes up screaming and crying. A 5-month-old does not wake up as often as a newborn baby, so if she is having trouble sleeping it should be easy to detect. If she is not bonding with a parent or is exposed to a lot of tension in her home, the stress may affect her into the night. If she has trouble sleeping, comfort her as much as possible and talk to her doctor if you are unable to figure out the problem.

Physical Stress

If a baby is under physical stress, he is likely experiencing problems in his gastrointestinal tract. He may spit up frequently, be constipated or strain to have bowel movements. If this is the case, keep him upright after feedings and ask his doctor about safe constipation remedies. If he appears to be in stress and you think it may be because he is trying to pass a bowel movement, massage his belly to help things along.

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